End of Life Care

As part of Dying Matters Week (10-16 May 2021) Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership has pledged its commitment to improving end of life care for local people through publication of its new Palliative and End of Life Care Strategy.

Encouraging people to talk more about death and dying is an important element of the strategy and Dying Matters Week is an opportunity to open up this conversation, with organisations and individuals coming together to start talking about death and bereavement.

Improving palliative and end of life care is a key priority of the Surrey Health and Wellbeing Board and in March 2021 the Board approved a joint Palliative and End of Life Care Strategy, which sets out Surrey Heartlands’ ambitions to improve care.

The publication of the strategy* is the culmination of many months of work that has brought together partners involved in every part of end of life care to look at how we can further enhance palliative and end of life care for our citizens.

Vicky Stobbart, Executive lead for the development of the Palliative and End of Life Care Strategy for Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System, explains:

“In developing the strategy we have spoken to health and care staff, our local and system partners and the voluntary sector. We have also spoken to people receiving end of life care and their families and we have used this insight to develop our own local ambitions to improve care.

“Over the past year we have seen some incredible partnership working and the strategy builds on this, setting out our ambitions to join up care and services for local people, make sure care is personalised to meet people’s individual needs and wishes and ensure that everyone is able to receive the advice, support and care they, and their families and carers, need” Vicky added.  

Our ambitions across Surrey Heartlands build on the NHS’ national priorities for end of life care and are that:

  • Everyone is seen as an individual, with care tailored to meet their needs and wishes
  • Everyone has equal access to palliative and end of life care
  • People are made to feel comfortable and their wider wellbeing needs are met
  • Care is coordinated, with different services working together
  • Staff have the skills and knowledge to provide the best care
  • Communities come together to provide help and support

These overarching ambitions encompass a range of projects and initiatives that will together enable us to meet our vision and future aspirations for end of life care across Surrey Heartlands.

The following areas are central to our plans:

  • Increased use of advance care planning
  • More support for carers
  • Continued roll out of the Surrey Care Record to create shared records
  • A digital workstream that will design innovative solutions to support end of life care at every stage
  • Providing more support to our workforce, including further training and education to ensure health and care staff have the right skills and knowledge
  • Improvements to the Medical Cause of Death Certification process
  • Further targeted insight and engagement work to understand the barriers to accessing end of life care for some groups and communities
  • A coordinated approach across the ICS to understand people’s experiences of end of life care, in all settings, to inform future commissioning and service delivery.

Delivery of this ambitious strategy will be led at a local level by our Integrated Care Partnerships. It will be for these partnerships to work together with local service providers and other partners to look at how they can best meet the aims of this strategy and how they can work together to improve care for their local populations.

Notes

A summary version of the Palliative and End of Life Care Strategy is available here. The website Caring to the End provides useful resources for end of life care and beyond for carers in Surrey.